Millennia Review – IGN


When you ask your mom from the back seat if we can get Sid Meier's Civilization, and she insists, “We have Civilization at home,” Millenia has Civilization at home. That may sound a little harsh, and it's not like there's nothing positive to highlight about this history-spanning 4X contender. But it boils down to a handful of good ideas that falter under the weight of shaky fundamentals. Like Gates before it, Millennia focuses heavily on the ways it wants to mix up the Civ formula without building a strong Civ-like base first.

Similar to Civilization, Millenia is a turn-based empire-builder inspired by real history, and in this case a little alternate history. My biggest fundamental issue with it is what I'm going to call the tile economy. Every tile in the world can be claimed by your cities, which you can then improve to generate resources. This sounds like pretty standard stuff, but I almost always ran out of space before I could even cover the basic needs of a big city. Many important resources can only be produced by tile improvements, and most tile improvements can only produce a single type of resource. There is no way to hybridize, and the buildings in the city are deliberately limited in many ways.

This means that basically all my cities look like Coruscant before Renaissance. Every available tile was filled with some form of infrastructure. This doesn't feel good. It doesn't look like a real city. It does not mimic real-world growth patterns. This is kind of a glitch, and the graphics representing those tiles can also be very bad. Roads can pass under buildings, there are places where two tiles meet and for some reason the highway is more pixelated on one side, and neighborhoods will even spawn in the middle of a river. The terrain itself looks fine, but after the first 200 turns it is almost always covered in dirt.

There are some ways to 'build tall' that open up later, such as processing grains to make flour and eventually bread, so more food can be prepared using less space. These production chains can get quite complex, especially when you take into account trade between cities, which added an extra layer of engagement that I enjoyed. But that wasn't enough to ease my disappointment with the tile economy. I was reminded of Civ 6's districts, which were a nice compromise between the capital being crammed with almost everything and this cumbersome sprawl.

I'm pretty sure humanity figured out how to clear land for farming even before we had Wi-Fi.

What makes it even worse is that you don't unlock the ability to clear forests until information agecirca 1970s, Sorry, What? So if you're somewhere half surrounded by trees, which I am almost every time, I hope you like wooden camps, because that's the only thing you'll be able to build on this land for thousands of years. I don't know if this game was designed by Lorax or what. I'm a pretty green person in real life, but I'm also pretty sure we figured out how to clear land for farming before there was Wi-Fi. It doesn't make sense historically Or In terms of balance.

I don't want to emphasize this one design failure for an entire review, but it becomes even more frustrating as additional, confusing resources are added in later eras. Do you want to build oil wells? You need a specific type of tile improvement points called “Experts” who represent educated people in your society. So maybe building a school will give me them, right? not good. Education is an entirely different thing, representing one of the various needs that your cities will be forced to meet as they grow larger and your society becomes more complex. This is a different resource than knowledge, which represents your scientific progress. And the experts, as it turns out, are almost exclusively swayed by tile improvements called the Brain Trust.

We ran out of flat land some time ago and we haven't invented digital forestry yet, so only Sid knows where we'll find space for them. This is very strange. I can be very advanced in technology and have the most educated city in the world, but not produce any “expert” who knows how to build an oil well. These three pools are completely unrelated. Why do each of them need to be a separate resource Made up of its own distinctive series of buildings It doesn't make sense to me on a logical level, and it's not even fun from a gameplay perspective.

Weird aside, I like the system of cities that have various requirements to meet in order to progress past certain thresholds. First of all, it's just food. However, once you grow old enough, you have to worry about hygiene too. Later, cities require education, electricity and internet access. Some of them make more sense than others. I'm not sure why social media would improve the pace of population growth. (It should probably be the opposite, right?) But it's one of a handful of cool ideas that help Millennia stand out at least a little.

If you want to know which era will come next, you will have to run to a great extent towards science.

Theoretically, alternative ages are another good idea. There is the standard progression from bronze to iron to the Renaissance, then eventually to space and beyond which we are all familiar with. But you can unlock optional cards with their own tech cards, like the Age of Heroes in which you'll lead your legendary founders to complete quests, or the Age of Conquest in which you'll lead the campaign by gaining dominance through gunpowder. Can finish quickly. The problem is, I found that it was very difficult to unlock or avoid certain things if you didn't really go out of your way to do so. I never saw Age of Blood happening, but the steampunkish Age of Aether seems almost inevitable. And if you want to say something, you will have to run a lot in the field of science, because only the person who is at the forefront of technology can decide which era will come next.

War can be exciting and entertaining. The AI ​​is actually capable of launching attacks. The fight animations look extremely dated, but it didn't bother me that much. Honestly, it's kind of cute. Sometimes I didn't understand how things like initiatives worked. There appears to be some kind of turn order, but it's never clear who goes first or how friendly and enemy units choose their targets. Some units will sometimes get a chance to attack twice in a row. And other than the relative total strength of the stacks, there is no way to predict how the fight will go before you attack.

I also need to talk about performance, because in the late game it is absolutely atrocious. The turn limit is 500, and pressing the “End Turn” button for turn 499 on the “Giant” sized map took a minute and 40 seconds to resolve on my Ryzen 7 3700X (I timed it). This happened when only six other nations were alive besides me. For the first 30 seconds it didn't seem like the AI ​​was taking turns – it was just Millennia completely freezing, and if I tried to click or tab out anything I got the message “Windows has stopped responding.” “Warned. In cases where I have to wait a few turns for a building to complete or something else to happen, it can be more than five minutes of sitting on my hands. The news that the campaign was almost over came as a pity.

I was also disappointed with the campaign set-up options. There are only 18 nations to choose from, and each of them comes with a single, small, somewhat generic suggested bonus that can be exchanged for another at your leisure. You can't control the length of the campaign at all, making the early eras always feel like they flew by very quickly, as someone who typically plays Civilization on Epic. But to be honest, I was glad I wasn't given the option to run for long periods of time when I threw the ball in the final minutes of the game. Additionally, the map creation options are also very limited.

You can customize your nation across the ages with National Spirits, which include things like the ability to build pyramids or hire samurai. And as you progress, new flavor mechanics like social fabric and ideologies continue to add layers of interesting differentiation. But with no differences in architecture or base units and no leaders who can talk, there is an overall lack of taste between the nations. It may surprise you that these white men in imaginary barbarian armor are supposed to be Zulu.


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